Sheila Martinez Awarded Distinguished Principal of the Year
Principal of Our Lady of Victory School in Washington, DC
May 11, 2011
Sheila Martinez, principal of Our Lady of Victory School in Washington, DC, has been named the Archdiocese of Washington’s Distinguished Principal of the Year for her superior spiritual leadership and her strong commitment to academic excellence.
The annual award is presented to a principal who demonstrates accomplishment in six categories: balancing management and leadership roles, setting high expectations and standards, stressing content and instruction that ensures student achievement, creating a culture of professional development for teachers, using multiple tools to apply and assess instructional improvements and actively engaging the school community.
After the recent surprise announcement at the school’s daily prayer, Martinez remarked to the students, “It’s my honor to be here. I love Our Lady of Victory, and I love being a principal. It’s the best job anybody could have. I get to see you every day. I love to see the person you’ve become. In our archdiocese, that’s what our Catholic schools are all about.”
Less than a week ago, the Washington Post recognized Martinez as a Principal of Excellence, and presented her with a 2011 Distinguished Educational Leadership Award for private schools in the Washington area.
Martinez has enabled the success of all 204 students through her educational leadership with innovative policies, implementation of a standards-based curriculum, mentoring and faculty professional development, as well as hands-on direction of daily operations. Our Lady of Victory School has been groundbreaking in employing the use of assistive technology for students with learning and attention differences, with Martinez as the driving force behind the implementation.
The awardee was chosen by a panel of her peers. Deacon Bert L’Homme, superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Washington, said “There’s no greater honor than to be recognized by those who do what you do.”
Martinez has served as principal at Our Lady of Victory since 2004. Before that, she served as a vice principal at St. Andrew Apostle School in Silver Spring.
Twenty three different languages are spoken in the school community, which Martinez said provides invaluable experiences for the children. The students from different backgrounds learn from each other, help each other, and become friends. Martinez commented that global perspective is part of the learning experience at the school. Martinez has shaped the school known for its academic excellence. Our Lady of Victory School earned the Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Department of Education in 2007.
Teachers noted Martinez encourages children to apply that day’s Gospel reading to their every day life. Students live out their faith through service to others, with projects like making sandwiches for the homeless every week, supporting St. Ann’s Infant and Maternity Home, mobilizing community resources towards social justice, and providing outreach to military families.
Gerard Baker, whose four children have attended Our Lady of Victory School, noted that Martinez has pursued high academic standards for the school, “but at the same time, she leads spiritually, and creates an atmosphere here that emphasizes spiritual growth and education.”
The Archdiocese of Washington serves nearly 30,000 students in 98 schools in the District of Columbia and Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties in Maryland.
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